Monday, July 07, 2014

Apuntes para una ficción suprema

PEOPLE often ask about the origin of "mission" furniture and how it came by that name. The general belief is that the first pieces were discovered in the California Missions and that these served as models for all the "mission" furniture which followed.

This is an interesting story, but the fact is no less interesting, because of the commercial cleverness that saw and took instant advantage of the power of a more or less sentimental association. The real origin of "mission" furniture is this: A number of years ago a manufacturer made two very clumsy chairs, the legs of which were merely three-inch posts, the backs straight, and the whole construction crude to a degree. They were shown at a spring exhibition of furniture, where they attracted a good deal of attention as a novelty. It was just at the time that the California Missions were exciting much attention, and a clever Chicago dealer, seeing the advertising value that lay in the idea, bought both pieces and advertised them as having been found in the California Missions.

Another dealer, who possesses a genius for inventing or choosing exactly the right name for a thing, saw these chairs and was inspired with the idea that it would be a good thing to make a small line of this furniture and name it "mission" furniture. The illusion was carried out by the fact that he put a Maltese cross wherever it would go, between the rails of the back and down at the sides ; in fact, it was woven into the construction so that it was the prominent feature and naturally increased the belief in the ecclesiastical origin of the chair. The mingling of novelty and romance instantly pleased the public, and the vogue of "mission" furniture was assured. 

Stickley, Gustav. "How "Mission" Furniture Was Named." The Craftsman 16, no. 2 (May 1909): 225.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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